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Quercus nigra

Common Name(s):

  • Possum Oak
  • Water Oak
Description

Quercus nigra which is also known as a Water oak or possum oak, is a medium sized deciduous (sometimes semi-evergreen in southern areas) oak of the red oak group that typically grows in a conical form to 50-80’ tall with a broad rounded crown. Its trunk diameter extends to 3.5’. The brownish gray bark becomes grayish black with age with rough scaly ridging. Water oak is native primarily from New Jersey to Florida and Texas, extending northward along the Mississippi River valley to western Kentucky, southern Illinois and the Missouri bootheel. It is typically found in low woodland areas, floodplains and along streams and rivers.   The water oak is easy to transplant. It's wood is weaker than most other oaks.  It's branches droop.  This tree is moderately salt tolerant.

Regions:  Piedmont, Coastal Plains

Seasons of Interest: 

     Bloom:  Early Spring     Fruit/Seed/Nut:  Fall

Wildlife Value:  This tree is mildly resistant to damage by deer.  Host plant for Banded Hairstreak, Edward's Hairstreak, Gray Hairstreak, White-M Hairstreak, Horace's Duskywing, Juvenal's Duskywing butterflies and many moths. Acorns are eaten by woodpeckers, blue jays, ducks, small mammals, wild turkeys, white-tailed deer, and black bears.

Insects, Diseases and Other Plant Problems: Water oak is a weak-wooded tree that is susceptible to trunk cankers and rots, all of which makes invulnerable to limb breakage from wind and winter snow/ice. Oaks, in general, are susceptible to a large number of diseases, including, chestnut blight, shoestring root rot, anthracnose, oak leaf blister, cankers, leaf spots and powdery mildew. This tree is highly susceptible to oak wilt.  Potential insect pests include scale, oak skeletonizer, leaf miner, galls, oak lace bugs, borers, caterpillars and nut weevils.

Consider Planting Instead: Quercus rubra

Cultivars:
Tags:
#deciduous#shade tree#salt tolerant#showy fruit#street tree#wet sites#cpp#low flammability#deer resistant#acorns#fire resistant
Cultivars:
Tags:
#deciduous#shade tree#salt tolerant#showy fruit#street tree#wet sites#cpp#low flammability#deer resistant#acorns#fire resistant
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Quercus
    Species:
    nigra
    Fire Risk Rating:
    low flammability
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    fire in the landscape.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Native Plant
    Poisonous
    Tree
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Green
    Hairs Present:
    No
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Design Feature:
    Shade Tree
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Salt
    Wet Soil